Sunday, 26 September 2010

The Music of the Bible

The videos etc which I had here are no longer available. You will find several sample performances on the music page.

You will perhaps have noticed that I have started to annotate my translations with the music I have performed all my life. One reason perhaps why the music of the te'amim was lost was to allow the flowering of the music of the Gentiles, surely a marvelous result.
The video above is the same theoretical reconstruction of music as we heard together with the music of Tallis and several other composers to the present day at an evening 45 minute presentation in the chapel at Worcester College Oxford, Thursday, September 23, 2010 at 5:45 pm.

Here is one example of a performance of psalm 137 and another of psalm 148. There are several more online. See also here for more on the music after reading some of SHV's book.

Above: The inside of the Worcester Chapel
Left: the ceiling
 - from the album 2010-09-21

וּפְדוּיֵי יְהוָה יְשֻׁבוּן
and the ransomed of יְהוָה will return
וּבָאוּ צִיֹּון בְּרִנָּה
and come to Zion 
 with a joyful ringing cry (songs)
וְשִׂמְחַת עֹולָם עַל־רֹאשָׁם
and gladness everlasting on their heads
שָׂשֹׂון וְשִׂמְחָה יַשִּׂיגוּ
joy and gladness they will take hold of
וְנָסוּ יָגֹון וַאֲנָחָֽה
and take flight will grief and groaning
Sorrow and sighing are fine too - but I sometimes render sighing for nacham (comfort or repent - esp. of God). Grief and groaning are not a good combo since in this case there is no alliteration in the Hebrew. To avoid alliteration in this case, perhaps sorrow and groaning might be preferable.


  1. Thank you for this -- I have Suzanne Haik-Ventoura's book, but haven't read it yet.

    I'm enjoying your other posts from this conference, too.

  2. Thanks Kathryn - I am glad people are reading and enjoying the posts. The conference was quite a stimulus.

  3. I see you also are from Canada. I am currently guesting at Selwyn where my daughter Sarah is music director - perhaps you have met. She does work with the JAM concerts in London occasionally and recently gave a recital at St Paul's. I will be in London at the Royal Academy to see another Canadian friend on Friday.

  4. I don't think I've met your daughter, but I've become involved in church music in this country only relatively recently.

    If you have time for a cup of tea on Friday I could pop into town to meet you. My e-mail is available through my blogger profile.